Oral factor Xa inhibitors for the long-term management of ACS.
Despite considerable reductions in cardiovascular events in patients with an acute coronary syndrome (ACS) receiving dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT), substantial residual risk persists. This unmet need has stimulated the development of anticoagulant drugs that target specific coagulation factors involved in the pathogenesis of thrombosis after atheromatous plaque disruption. Factor Xa is an attractive target for inhibition because of both its integral role in coagulation and its recognized participation in cellular proliferation and inflammation. Several oral, direct factor Xa inhibitors are undergoing investigation and large, phase III clinical trials of two agents, apixaban and rivaroxaban, in patients with an ACS have been completed. On the basis of the known pathobiology of ACS, one might anticipate that drugs in this class of anticoagulant would beneficially reduce ischemic and thrombotic events; however, a strategy of combined anticoagulant therapy and DAPT is likely to increase concomitant bleeding complications. The balance of benefit and risk will ultimately determine uptake in clinical practice. We review the available data on factor Xa inhibitors in the long-term management of patients with an ACS.
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